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Archive for the category “USA”

High Efficiency Electricity Storage With Antiferroelectrics


Here we report our first-principles-based theoretical predictions that Bi1−xRxFeO3 systems (R being a lanthanide, Nd in this work) can potentially allow high energy densities (100–150 J cm−3 [*]) and efficiencies (80–88%)

[*] That would be 1 kWh/24 liter.

[] – Antiferroelectrics for storing energy from renewable sources
[] – First step toward creating efficient electrolyte-free batteries
[] – Designing lead-free antiferroelectrics for energy storage
[] – Antiferroelectricity


The State of Solar

[] – Countries That Use The Most Solar Power
[] – Electricity-production in Germany

Cleaning the Oceans from Plastic

Swiss, Dutch and American initiatives to clean up the world’s oceans from plastic, mainly originating from Asian rivers.

[] – SeaCleaners
[] – Ocean Cleanup
[] – Ocean Cleanup
[] – Almost all plastic in the ocean comes from just 10 rivers

Solar Air Collectors

Early December, outside temperature 6C/43F. Two simple air collectors and ventilators. Max output temperature: 62C/143F

[] – Solar air collector project in northern Germany

Still waiting for the first solar air collector project where the black absorber back plate consists of a black solar panel. The collector should be constructed as such that the glass/acryl cover can be removed in the spring and put back again in the autumn to avoid too high solar panel temperatures during the summer. Special construction absorber with window screen.


Siebdruckplatten: Materialstärke (Seitenwände) 21 mm – 35 €/m²
Materialstärke 9 mm (Rückwand) – 20 €/m²
Acryllack, Dose mit 125 ml – 4,99 €
Aluschiene, 1 cm x 3 cm x 200 cm (2mm), 2 Stück –
Aluschiene, 3 cm x 3 cm x 200 cm (2mm), 1 Stück –
Aluschiene, H – Form
Schrauben V2A, 4 x 25
Schrauben V2A, 3,5 x 16
Schrauben V2A, 4,5 x 45
Fiberglasnetz, 1m x 3,40 m
Acrylglasscheibe (Gewächshaus) 70 x 160 cm
Computerlüfter 12 V, 120 mm, 115 m³/h

Acryl cover

The end result

Some data:

01.03.2013 – complete sunny day
Collector temperature: 39,5 °C

Dutch Company Comes to the Rescue of US Offshore Wind

America has an archaic protectionist law called the Jones Act from 1920. The law says that transport between two American harbors can be done only with American-built ships with an American crew. This law effectively kills US offshore wind development before it gets a chance to be born, because America, as an offshore wind developing nation, doesn’t have the equipment to install offshore wind parks. Offshore wind technology is world-wide for more than 90% a North-West European affair, with installation vessels and crew all-European. European offshore installation in American waters violates the Jones Act.

The US has currently only one “windpark”, Block Island near NYC: 5 turbines with a 30 MW capacity, build by Europeans. When the Norwegian shipping company Fred Olsen crossed the Atlantic, the installation ship was not allowed to dock in a US harbor. This is not good for US offshore wind.

Now a Dutch company GustoMSC has come up with a simple design that can be constructed and operated by Americans and as such start the long overdue offshore wind development near the US coasts.

[] – GustoMSC Reveals SEA-3250-LT
[] – Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (“Jones Act”)
[deepresource] – The Seven Brothers – Europe Taking Lead in US Offshore
[deepresource] – The Enormous Energy Potential of the North Sea
[] – Antieke wet frustreert offshore wind in VS, Nederland schiet te hulp

Evaporation as a Renewable Energy Source?

A few basic facts about water:

Specific heat of water 4.2 kJ/kg/°C [*]
Heat of evaporation of water: 2256 kJ/kg [**]

[*] – energy required to increase temperature of water with 1 °C
[**] – energy required to turn 1 kg of water of 100 °C into vapor of 100 °C

In other words: it takes just as much energy to bring water from 46 °C to 100 °C as it takes to turn boiling water of 100 °C into water vapor of 100 °C. Or in other words: there is a lot of energy associated with phase change. That energy can be won back by condensing vapor back into water. This is what essentially happens in a steam engine: coal is used to heat water and turn it into steam. Next the steam is expanded in a cylinder where it is condensed. Part of the evaporation heat is converted into the desired mechanical energy or motion. Or think of stepping out of the shower dripping wet. You will feel cold because the drops on your body evaporate, which takes a lot of energy which is extracted from your body.

In nature evaporation and condensing of water happens on a gigantic scale, think of rain. Is there a way of capturing some of this energy for human purposes and convert it into useful energy? Scientists of the University of Columbia think there is. The place to generate electricity would by near the surface of lakes (uh-oh). Spores are attached to a surface, absorb water vapor and expand in volume. The useful energy is generated when the spores release the water as vapor which drives a motor. As MIT Technology Review previously reported:

“An eight-centimeter-by-eight-centimeter water surface can produce about two microwatts of electricity (a microwatt is one-millionth of a watt), on average, and can burst up to 60 microwatts.”

That would be 12.5 * 12.5 * 2 microwatt per m2 or 312 microwatt or 0.312 milliwatt/m2. Which is not too impressive to say the least. A solar panel of 1 m2 in contrast can bring you up to 150 Watt. That’s a difference of 48,000 in efficiency.


[] – Potential for natural evaporation as a reliable renewable energy resource
[] – Water evaporation could be a promising source of renewable energy
[] – Evaporation Engines Could Produce More Power Than Coal, with a Huge Caveat

“Assembling Offshore Wind-towers Onshore is Cheaper”

State of the art offshore installation. Can it really be done more economically than this?

The cheapest and fastest way to install an offshore wind turbine is to assemble it completely onshore first, including the monopile. That’s the outcome of research done by the University of Delaware. The method employed is to not work with a single large monopile ramed into the sea floor, but with several “buckets” that are suctioned into the sea floor at less depth and less acoustic impact for sea mammals. Starting base was a hypothetical large 1 GW offshore wind farm in the Delaware Wind Energy Area off Rehoboth Beach, Del., using the port near Delaware City and working with 10 MW turbines. Results: $1.6 billion less cost and only half the construction time.

[] – Industrializing Offshore Wind Energy Development
[] – Suction Bucket or Caisson Foundations
[] – University of Delaware

Read more…

Electric Flying Goes From Two to Four Passengers

[] – Aero Electric Sun Flyer

Aqueous Sulfur Flow Battery for Ultralow-Cost Long-Duration Electrical Storage


Here, we demonstrate an ambient-temperature aqueous rechargeable flow battery that uses low-cost polysulfide anolytes in conjunction with lithium or sodium counter-ions, and an air- or oxygen-breathing cathode. The solution energy density, at 30–145 Wh/L depending on concentration and sulfur speciation range, exceeds current solution-based flow batteries, and the cost of active materials per stored energy is exceptionally low, ∼US$1/kWh when using sodium polysulfide. The projected storage economics parallel those for PHS and CAES but can be realized at higher energy density and with minimal locational constraints.

[] – Air-Breathing Aqueous Sulfur Flow Battery for Ultralow-Cost Long-Duration Electrical Storage calls for caution:

[] – Sulfur Battery Promises Less Expensive Grid Scale Storage Solution

You can take this story with a grain of salt, literally and figuratively. Researchers at MIT, responding to a challenge issued by the US Department of Energy, have developed a new battery for use by utility companies to store electricity that costs 100 times less than the conventional lithium ion batteries in use today. The new battery uses sulfur, air, water, and salt — all readily available materials that are cheap to buy. The new battery has store twice as much energy as a typical lead acid battery. Their research was published for the first time on October 11 by energy journal Joule… Under the leadership of former Energy Department head Steven Chu, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research set a goal of reducing grid storage battery costs by a factor of five while increasing energy density also by a factor of five and all within five years… “Through an accidental laboratory discovery, we figured out that it could actually be oxygen, and therefore air. We needed to add one other component, which was a charge carrier to go back and forth between the sulfur and air electrode, and that turned out to be sodium.” The total chemical cost of their proposed battery is roughly $1 per kilowatt-hour. Since all the chemical components of the battery are dissolved in water, the researchers decided to use a flow battery architecture. In a flow battery, a system of pumps and tubes causes the components of the battery to flow past each other, generating chemical reactions that help it capture electrons… The sulfur-oxygen-salt battery under development currently has a useful life of 1500 hours — far less than the 20-year lifespan needed to attract commercial interest in the technology. The researchers have a long way to go yet, but the prospect of ultra low cost grid storage makes their quest worthwhile.

EasyJet Believes in Electric Flying

EasyJet says that electric flying could be with us in a decade and for that purpose has begun a partnership with US firm Wright Electric to build a battery-powered plane for two hours flight duration.

[] – EasyJet says it could be flying electric planes within a decade
[] – Your airliner may be flying electric within a decade
[] – EasyJet could be flying battery-powered electric planes within the next 10 years

Solar-to-Fuel System Recycles CO2 to Make Ethanol and Ethylene

Schematic of a solar-powered electrolysis cell which converts carbon dioxide into hydrocarbon and oxygenate products with an efficiency far higher than natural photosynthesis. Power-matching electronics allow the system to operate over a range of sun conditions. (Credit: Clarissa Towle/Berkeley Lab)

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has designed a “competitor” for natural photosynthesis in plants in a setup where CO2 from the atmosphere is transformed into Ethanol (C2H5OH or CH3−CH2−OH or C2H5−OH) and Ethylene (C2H4 or H2C=CH2) using renewable electricity, with an efficiency far greater than in plants: 3-5% vs 0.2-2%.

[] – Solar-to-Fuel System Recycles CO2 to Make Ethanol and Ethylene
[] – Ethanol
[] – Ethylene
[] – Photosynthetic efficiency

Water Splitting Catalyst Breakthrough?

Molecular models representing a 2D heterostructure made of graphene (gray background hexagonal lattice), and islands on top of hexagonal WS2 and MoS, as well as an alloy of the two. Water (H2O) molecules in red (oxygen) and gray (hydrogen) come from the bottom left hand side and get transformed catalytically after interacting with the heterostructures into H2 bubbles (top right hand side). Credit: Penn State Materials Research Institute.

Platinum is a near perfect catalyst for splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The only drawback is that it is very expensive. Researchers from Houston, Penn State and Florida State University claim to have found a cheaper replacement: Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). A Swiss team already proposed this solution in 2011.

No efficiency numbers are given.

The Wiley link from 2016 mentions 12.4%

[] – Low cost, scalable water splitting fuels the future hydrogen economy
[] – Researchers report new, more efficient catalyst for water splitting
[] – Amorphous MoS2 films as catalysts for electrochem. H2 prod. in H2O
[] – Amorphous Molybdenum Sulfides as Hydrogen Evolution Catalysts
[] – MoS2 as a co-catalyst for photocatalytic hydrogen production from water
[] – Molybdenum disulfide
[] – Gibbs free energy

Lit Motors C1 Still Alive

All wonderful these electric 5-seater “family cars”. The truth is that in a country like Holland average occupation rate is 1.25, that is a factor of 4 less than the true capacity of the standard car. Why not accept reality and concentrate on vehicles that are tailor-made for single person transport. Enter the two-wheeled Lit Motors C1 prototype from a Californian startup. Why not embrace the transportation model of private ownership of a “high-end scooter” like the Lit Motors C1 for commuting or lite shopping, combined with the occasional renting of a self-driving car for multiple persons?

Estimated base price: $24,000

[] – Official site
[] – Lit Motors
[] – Gyrocar

Energy Storage With Gravity Train

Here an alternative approach to pumped hydro storage: sending a train with heavy concrete load up and down a hill. Once pushed to the hill top, energy can be won back via regenerative braking. Round trip efficiency 80%. Weight individual train: 300 ton. Planned track in a desert in Nevada will have a length of 9.2 km with an elevation of 640 m. Optimal slope: 7.2%.

[] – Concrete Gravity Trains May Solve Storage Problem

Vestas and Tesla to Combine Forces

The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer Vestas wants to add storage facilities to its wind farms, hence the new relationship with battery manufacturer Tesla. With an ever increasing installed base of wind power, with a supply of electricity that is inherently variable, storage is becoming increasingly important.

Tesla wants to expands its customer base and move beyond car batteries and home powerwalls.

[] – Vestas Joins With Tesla to Combine Wind Turbines With Batteries
[] – Vestas confirms Tesla joint project

US Offshore Wind About to Take Off

Inspired by the success of offshore wind in the North Sea, prospects for offshore wind to take off in the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico look good.

This push may be enough to usher a multi-gigawatt surge in US offshore wind development, led by the first commercial wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island, commissioned in December 2016. With well-capitalized and experienced offshore wind developers such as Dong Energy, Statoil and Iberdrola eager to demonstrate their 15 years of European offshore wind know-how, it is likely that positive offshore wind market forces can be sustained in the US in the upcoming years… there is a potential capacity for more than 14GW of offshore wind in sites already leased on the US outer continental shelf, which could spark investments of up to $50bn if fully developed.

[] – Gulf of Mexico will benefit from coming wave of US offshore

Read more…

Goldman-Sachs – Peak Oil Demand 2024, not 2040

Goldman-Sachs produced a report saying that peak-oil demand could be upon us as early as 2024, in the “extreme case”. Causes: increased vehicle efficiency, e-vehicle penetration and lower economic growth. Expected 2030 e-vehicle fleet: 86 million, up from 2 million today.

[] – Goldman Sachs warns of peak oil demand
[] – Get Ready for Peak Oil Demand

Lithium Not Goodenough – Solid State Batteries For Electric Cars

Prof Goodenough is no quitter

If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m Ninety-four?

(Free after The Beatles)

Prof. Goodenough (94) doesn’t know when to stop. And why should he? Where mere mortals usually “live up” to this label at 94, prof Goodenough still soldiers on and has announced a battery breakthrough that could defeat the lithium-ion battery, nota bene his own brainchild.

His team has developed an all-solid-state battery cell and the expectation is that this could lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries with three times higher energy density per unit of volume compared to lithium-ion, to be applied in mobile gadgets, e-vehicles as well as in utility-size electricity storage.

[] – Introduction of New Technology for Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries
[] – Alternative strategy for a safe rechargeable battery
[] – John B. Goodenough
[] – Glass battery

Read more…

Cummins All Electric Class 7 Truck Revealed

US truck power train manufacturer Cummins announced yesterday the Class 7 electric truck prototype named AEOS. Parameters: 145 kWh battery and a 100 miles range for a 22 ton trailer. Recharging takes an hour. Production date is 2019.

[] – Cummins All Electric Class 7 Truck Revealed
[] – Cummins

Efficiency Breakthrough Lithium-Ion Batteries?

Dendrites are the enemy of Lithium-Ion batteries

Lithium-Ion batteries could be far more efficient, were it not that they need to be “sabotaged” on purpose, by “diluting” the cathode with graphene in order to prevent the growth of stalactite-like structures called dendrites on the cathode surface, see picture. Dendrites eventually cause the battery to fail, so this outgrowth needs to be prevented with comes at the cost of storage capacity up to a factor of 10.

Researchers at Drexel University, Tsinghua University in Beijing and Hauzhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China have developed an approach to eliminate the need for graphene by working with nanosized diamonds added to the electrolyte inside the battery. This suppresses dendrite growth at least during the first 100 charge-discharge cycles.

Commercial applications are probably several years away.

[] – Nanodiamonds suppress the growth of lithium
[] – Recipe for Safer Batteries — Just Add Diamonds
[] – Potential Lithium-Ion Battery Breakthrough
[] – Roots of the Lithium Battery Problem… Dendrites
[] – Technique to suppress dendrite growth in lithium metal batteries
[] – ..dendrites… why do they cause fires in lithium batteries?

Read more…

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